What is the Best Background Color for Shooting Video


So, I have my camera, my lights, my topic… now what? What should you use as your background? Selecting a good background for your video is important. We never want our backdrop to be distracting, disorganized or even uncomplimentary as it can take away from our message. Instead, we need our background to be complementary to our message. What kind of an effect can the ideal backdrop have on video production? What is the effect of color?

What is the Best Background Color for Shooting Video?

The best background color for your video will be one that complements your subject’s skin tone, hair, eyes, and clothing. Does your subject have warm or cool undertones? Match the background with their undertones and watch them “pop” on camera.

The backdrop you select should be based on a number of factors, such as your budget, your personality, your topic, along with the warm or What is the Best Background Color for Shooting Videocool undertone of your subject. Think through the process of selecting your backdrop as this can make a big impact on the success of your video’s message. Your backdrop communicates something to the receiver about you and your message. Let it be a good thing!

Backdrops for video exist in abundance. You can purchase backgrounds that look like brick walls, bus stops, theatres, and thousands of other scenarios. Now is the time to rely on your creative side. Let your personality shine through and select a background that fits.

That being said, there is much to be said for a solid color backdrop. For one, you can add text to solid color backgrounds making it easier to communicate with your viewers. We all know just how important that communication can be!

Is One Color Background Really Better Than Another for Video?

I’ve done a lot of research on this topic to try and understand what would set someone apart in this area. What color backdrop and even color clothing should be used for the subject of a video production?

In my opinion, there is no “Best” color that works for everyone. One color may work well for you but not work so well for me.

What color are you wearing when you receive the most compliments? 

One way of looking at this is to figure out what looks good on you – if you’re the subject. What is the undertone of your skin? I’m not speaking of your skin’s color but rather the hidden tones that make up your skin’s color. If you wear clothing or use a backdrop that complements your skin’s undertones or even complements your eyes, this will make you appear more radiant and healthy on camera (i.e. you’ll pop on video more than the next vlogger).

Hollywood understands the importance of color; Marketers understand as well when they’re designing the next Pepsi commercial. So I believe this is something we need to consider instead of throwing a color behind us a turning on the camera.

Think about it, using color in a strategic way to complement your subject on video is smart. Don’t just wing it

How Can I Figure Out My Skin’s Undertones and My Ideal Colors?

There are a few tests you can do but the most popular one is to look at the underside of your wrist or arm. Look for your veins. If they appear bluish or purplish then you have a cool undertone. If your veins appear green then you have a warm undertone. If you can’t really tell by looking at your wrist then there’s the possibility that you have a neutral undertone. To investigate further, check out this video for details on skin tone and your undertone.

For example, my skin undertones are cool. I have a light complexion with auburn hair and hazel eyes. I’m cool. My ideal colors would be blues and greens. A larger list is below.

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For those of you that may have warm undertones, your ideal colors would be oranges, red, honey gold, and the like. See a larger list below.

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So, you see there isn’t just one color that works best for everyone. There are several colors that would work best for me and others not so much. Yes, you could use a white or black background and be effective but eventually, that color won’t fit your video topic or you’ll get bored with it. Think about a gray day… now think about using a gray backdrop with every video you produce. Boring.

Bold Colors and Video

Some won’t use bright colors as they can cause “reflections” which can be less than flattering. How well any color is recorded on video depends on the tools you have and the skill level of the one recording video. However, I would also say it depends on the subject’s undertones (as well as other factors).

All that being established, many have used brightly colored backgrounds to perfection on YouTube and it not only works – its absolutely fantastic! Check out the example below. Isn’t it obvious which color backdrops look the best? I have to go with the deep yellow color or possibly the orange. The subject below actually selected the deep yellow backdrop as her personal favorite.

bright color backdrops videocourtesy of: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDMyNN9lNt8

Eye Color Can Help You Decide on Your Color Background

Jewel tone colors are said to look good on anyone. If you have gray on your head or beard like I do, that alone can make you look “washed out”. However, for the best effect, you can use jewel tones that match your eye color to make things “pop”. This has a great effect. On video, the fact that your eye color matches up well with your backdrop or your clothing is very complimentary.

More Info

There has been a lot of interest in duplicating the white background which was made famous by Apple. Apple really perfected this look with their commercials showing one of their products in a completely white environment. Check out the example below to see how great this looks. It definitely puts the product on display, front, and center.

If this video segment had a subject (person) in place rather than a product it would definitely have a different feel. But there are people all over the internet using this method and it works.

The white background takes a bit to perfect and it may take a few extra lights to get just right. However, I’ll admit it looks cool.

Many online marketers also use a solid black backdrop which I think looks great with the right mix of lighting. However, if you’re shooting a video for makeup or something cheery, you might not want to choose a black background. Just my opinion. In fact, more than 90% of makeup and cosmetic YouTube videos are shot with pink or white as their dominant colors. Why is that? Because these marketers understand what is expected for this particular niche. See the sample below. You can see the white light hitting the subject’s back which helps him pop on the screen.

black background videoCourtesy of: https://forums.creativecow.net/docs/forums/post.php?forumid=54&postid=862025&univpostid=862025&pview=t

Related Questions

What to Wear for a Video Shoot

  • Patterns may distract or cause the video to waver (moire effect), go with solid colors
  • No extreme colors
  • Wear clothing that fits, nothing baggy and nothing tight
  • No logos as they may need to be edited
  • Don’t wear green if a green screen is involved – you’ll disappear
  • Keep jewelry and makeup light

What is the Best Color to Wear on Camera?

Some recommend that you not wear white, black and red as all three of these can pose problems. Choose warming colors for your skin’s undertones such as greens, blues, violet, and rose-colored hues. You can use jewel tones which are said to be colors that anyone can wear and that “pop” on camera.

What to Wear on TV to Look Thinner

  • Don’t wear all black or just a white shirt, it can make you look like bigger
  • Wear a jacket, button up for a neater appearance
  • Wear only clothing that fits
  • Create a waist with a belt
  • Wear blues, pastels, and natural tones
  • During the interview, lean forward 15 degrees for a slimming effect

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